END OF YEAR RESULTS: HOW DO YOU SELF ASSESS YOUR LEARNING PROGRESS?
If you started this year with a learning resolution, now that we are beginning the final month, you may be thinking if you have reached your goals or have made enough progress to see an actual result in your new language skills.
How you quantify your progress or analyze your improvement and challenges may influence your decision to keep learning this way or make changes. So, this analysis must be objective and realistic to actually make a good decision. But how? How can you measure your progress?
If you are enrolled in a language class, your feedback is provided by your teacher and by the progression in each subsequent course, which is a clear indication of how you are passing milestones. It is always important to ask your teacher about specific advice and evaluation, as he/she can identify your strengths and challenges and help you understand your choices. If you are not enrolled in a class, currently don’t have an instructor or you are a self-learner, it is more difficult to self-assess your progress.
As we explained in our previous newsletter, there are multiple apps that use metrics to track your vocabulary and grammar progress. These apps are helpful to quantify how many words you know or how many hours you have spent learning a topic, but these data can not actually measure your proficiency level or compare your oral skills progression.
This is because you may have a long list of words whose meanings you know and can recognize while reading or listening, but you may find yourself challenged to actively use them when speaking. However, if you use other means to track your progress, you may be able to “see” the road already traveled. Let’s see how to do it.
– Revise your notes and check how now you can understand and use words, verbs and expressions that you struggled to comprehend at that moment. (Better yet: start a dated journal with new words and concepts that will be helpful to compare with later on).
– Read out loud texts, articles and/or books that you previously read and realize how easier or more comprehensible they seem now. If at that moment you had highlighted the challenging or unknown words or verbs, check if those concepts are clear now.
–Record yourself reading and speaking, listen to yourself and compare your progress from previous recordings ( or start a sequence today to compare later, recording yourself every 4 to 6 months). You can do the same with texts, emails or voice messages if you have been communicating with other people practicing your target language. Compare the initial communication with the current ones and assess your progress. Continue writing regularly (with dates).
–Watch again a video or a movie that you may have found difficult to follow, turn the captions off and focus on meaning and comprehension, more than understanding each word.
–Analyze your oral skills by focusing on what you can do now, not on what you can’t. For example, you may be able to greet people, to ask for prices or products at a store or to talk about yourself, your family or your job. You also may be able to describe people and places or talk about your routine. Sometimes all this is overlooked because we are focusing on what we still can not express, like using past or future tenses when starting as beginners.
After taking some time to look back at the time invested, your commitment and your results, you will be able to set up new goals for the next year, modify your schedule (to accommodate more lessons and practice) or continue with your current methods and routines.
Just remember that learning a new language takes time and effort, don’t give up and keep practicing. There is always a moment when all the input received by your brain will “click” together and you will be surprised with your new learning skills.